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Volkswagen denies its Dieselgate fix causes breakdowns

Autocar 2017-04-21 00:00:00
  • Volkswagen Dieselgate fix causes break downs and reduced performance, says report

Volkswagen has denied claims that its Dieselgate fix for the EA189 diesel engine has caused breakdowns, increased fuel consumption and reduced performance in a large number of vehicles.

The damning claims come from a report submitted by the Volkswagen Diesel Customer Forum (VDCF) that says owners of cars issued with a fix for affected 2.0-litre diesel engines have also noticed increased exhaust smoke, excessive regeneration of diesel particulate filters (DPF) and DPF failure.

It says exhaust gas regeneration (EGR) valves have also failed, as have turbochargers and fuel injectors. Further claims state that other vehicles have entered limp mode or their engines have got louder once the voluntary fix was issued.

But VW has told Autocar that these issues affect less than 1% of the 600,000 cars it has fixed (at around 20,000 a week), which equates to less than 6000 cars overall.

A spokesman said: "That means that over 99% of customers are satisfied with the application of the technical measures, which of course are carried out free of charge. As you would expect, we make it a priority to look at the vehicles of the very small proportion of customers who report any issues."

VW also believes that a large portion of the vehicles with problems have been poorly maintained, with some even missing their factory-fitted DPFs. It says this means many of the issues that have arisen are unrelated to the fix.

VW has repeatedly claimed that its emissions fix, which is focused around a software change in affected models, has no impact on vehicle performance and that it has been “extensively tested” and approved by “relevant independent authorities”. The company said it tested 200,000 vehicles in the software’s development.

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The new report not only questions this but also reveals that VW has responded to complaints from disgruntled owners with statements such as: “We have heard of no other issues from other customers who have had the update applied."

Two months ago, VW UK managing director Paul Willis gave evidence at a Transport Select Committee meeting and said just “0.75% of total updated vehicles had received a complaint”.

However, VDCF believes  the number is significantly higher and that VW has failed to keep a log of issued complaints. The report also suggests that some owners have had to pay for replacement of failed EGRs after the fix was issued to their car. However, VW claims these failures had nothing to do with the software change.

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Models affected by the VW emissions scandal include the Polo, Golf Plus, Beetle and Passat with the EA189 diesel engine.

The VDCF has urged the government to consider prosecuting VW for the scandal, something it is yet to do. In the report, it uses a quote from Willis to justify its argument for prosection.

The Willis statement said: “To be clear, NOx emissions limits under the EU5 emissions standard are the prescribed limits during New European Driving Cycle testing, and these limits only regulate NOx emissions in the context of that prescribed testing and do not regulate ordinary driving conditions on the road; there is currently no legal limit for real-world NOx emissions on the road in the UK.”

The report believes that this breaks the laws set out by EU5 engine regulation.

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